children's writer

Embarrassing Query Mistakes

Apr 13, 2012
I admit it. I’m guilty of querying too soon, which we all know is one of the top reasons why a query is rejected. When I first began querying I was absolutely certain that my query was as perfect as it could be. Within a few days I’d sent out 12 or so queries all with the same mistakes, misspelling lent, and confusing than with then. How embarrassing. I even entered a few contests with these mistakes.

Thankfully, I eventually caught these errors with the help of my CP’s, but that still didn't make up for those queries that I sent out. The moral of the story is never query on a whim. Before you send that first query out be certain that it’s as polished as it can be. I think it helps to have more than one person have a look at it also because sometimes even your critique partner can miss things.

Now some agents are forgiving, and will overlook the simplest grammar or spelling error, but double checking will certainly keep those cringe worthy moments at bay. I did have a slight query flub just this week, but thank God it wasn't anything too bad. 

Have you made any query blunders?
11 comments on "Embarrassing Query Mistakes"
  1. Used the word "worst" when it should have been "worse". But the agent overlooked it and asked to see the manuscript anyway.

    But just last night I was having a query discussion with my husband, and I told him I could usually only send out about 3 queries in a normal "work" day because of all the research required and the perfecting of the query letter itself. So, yeah, querying on a whim is definitely not good. It's like searching for a job. It has to be done right.:)

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Linda. Querying on a whim is definitely not a good idea. It is just like searching for a job, isn't it?

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  2. I've queried too soon. Query just wasn't ready. But yeah, people can make some interesting mistakes. I remember reading about an agent named Kevan who mentioned tossing query letters easily. I wondered why until I finished reading. People weren't researching first so when they queried they would put Dear Mr. Kevan yada yada. Problem: Kevan is a woman.

    Yikes.

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  3. I've queried too soon and totally blown my chances because I actually got requests and learned the hard way how important patience is in this game! I've also phrased things wrong, said I included a SASE in an email and sent queries to two agents in the same agency. Woops! I think it's definitely hard to cover all your bases the first time around!!!

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  4. I've been guilty of jumping the gun on querying, but I've also discovered that an awkward early query doesn't stick in an agent's mind like we think it does--I've turned noes into yeses with a better query (same agent).

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  5. I have not queried at all yet but I've been tempted to! I need to finish something completely before I take that step. I'm going to a writing conference at the end of the month where agents will be. I signed up months ago and figured I'd be done with my novel by then and could make an appointment with one of the agents for their alloted pitch session. I hate that I have to cancel, it's such a good opportunity to meet an agent face to face, but my story isn't ready.

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  6. I've queried too soon. My query didn't have blatant mistakes but it was just...not ready.

    I'm trying to slow down this time around but its so HARD!

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  7. I've definitely queried too early. I've also made the mistake of having too many drafts of a query -- not settling on one solid version, but sending out various revisions so I never really knew which version I'd sent to which agents. It was a headache! I also sent one query with the wrong agent's name in the salutation... that was embarrassing.

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  8. Thanks for all the wonderful comments guys. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's made some embarrassing query mistakes. :D

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  9. I've had mistakes in the first few pages. We are human and it's hard. Hitting send is always a butterfly moment.

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  10. I am so guilty of this. I wrote a picture book (a few years ago) and I thought it was great. I sent out a couple of queries before I realized how much it stunk and how much work it needed! Ugh, hopefully I'll never make that mistake again! :)

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